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MOTHER Betty Joe 2023
2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV 7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me
on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
On the evening of Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at 8:00pm, God called our beloved
Mother, “Betty Joe,” to her eternal resting place.
Betty Joe was born to the late James Styles, Senior and Lucille Bri8on-Styles on
December 3, 1939, in Washington, Georgia. She was the third child of seven
siblings, Jimmy, Frank Willie, Phyllis. Three siblings preceded her in death, Mary
Styles, Gail Styles-Jackson, and Abe Styles Cohen Jr.
Betty Joe was raised in a Christian home by her parents in Atlanta, Georgia and
by her grandparents, Peter & Lula Bri8on at 104 Gaines Street, Washington,
Georgia. During her time in Washington, the family a8ended Gibson Grove Baptist
Church. Her great-grandfather Reverend Mole Gibson was the founder and senior
pastor. At the age of nine years old Be*y Joe joined her family in Philadelphia,
Betty Joe was always communicating with her siblings and extended sibling, Lillie
Cohen Ellerbe. Her sister Phyllis, aka Boo-boo, became her best friend for life. The
sisters lived across the street from each other and connected every day. They did
everything together such as traveling to Spain, Portugal, the tropical islands, and
other European countries. They were inseparable.
Betty Joe was affectionately known at BJ, Mother, Mommy, Grandmom, GG
Mom, Washington and Girlfriend by family and friends. Our mother would quote,
“I’m BJ from Washington, GA; 104 Gaines Street.”
Betty Joe was educated in school systems in Washington, GA, New York, NY and
Philadelphia, PA. As a young girl, she loved sports and played basketball in
Washington, GA. Be*y Joe a8ended William Penn night school for hairdressing and
sewing. She successfully worked in her chosen occupation as a Nursing Assistant at
Fairview Nursing Homes a[er a8ending the James Martin Nursing School.
Betty Joe and her future husband, “Clifton Gary,” were introduced by family and
friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The two met when her two daughters,
Stephanie, was three years old; and Doris was two years old. They united in holy
matrimony and were blessed with two addiional children, Clifton aka Blair and
Wanda. Cliff made it clear he was father to all the children. The family was close
and always ate meals together. The dinner table was a source of conversations
about how your day went; school, education, playtime, life and what to do
differently. Cliff and Be8y remained married until his passing.
The family lived in a Christian household and became members of the Triumph
Baptist Church under the pastorage of Rev. James Hall, Senior Pastor. Be8y was a
diligent and avid Bible reader. She loved Bible study time and discussing biblical
principles. She often quoted the Word to encourage, correct, and enlighten family
and friends of the goodness, and holiness of The Lord God. Our Mother, a God-
fearing woman who exhibited Christian love to all, always extending a helping
hand. She was a logical thinker, compassionate and intriguing conversationalist.
BJ and Cliff enjoyed family, cooking, and dancing, especially, “the Bop.” They
taught the older girls how to Bop. Teaching games to the children was part of the
family fun time. Card games included Pi8y Pat, 500 Rummy, I Declare War and
board games were also included. They also loved sporting events, especially
basketball and boxing. They became entrepreneurs for three years opening a
corner store named “Dawn To Dusk.” They loved entertaining over Thanksgiving
and Christmas holiday time and celebrating birthdays. Taking vacations was always
part of their lifestyle. They o[ten visited Atlantic City and Wildwood New Jersey and
took many day trips with friends and families. They loved going to the movies.
Their favorite pets were cats, especially Tom!
They played music o[ten in the home. She loved gospel music, Rhythm & Blues,
Rock & Roll, “Motown. Artists.” Her favorite gospel singers/groups included Ida
Love Coates, Mahalia Jackson, Inez Andrews, Clara Ward, Shirley Caesar, and Sam
Cooke. Her favorite Motown Artist was Smokey Robinson
Betty Joe became the matriarch of the Styles Family after the passing of her
mother, “Lucy.” The Styles family and others could always count on her hospitality,
laughter, and words of wisdom. She was an excellent cook. Our mother was known
for her homemade meals: steak, spanish rice, spaghetti, roast beef, pork roast,
stuffing, potato salad, and bu8er bread in the frying pan; and desserts such sweet
potato and apple pies, glazed pineapple cakes with a touch of coconut.
BJ loved to laugh and talk with family and friends. She was the family historian as
well. She loved family gatherings and a8ended family reunions in Washington, and
Georgia. She enjoyed being with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
The birthday celebrations for the new generations were celebrated with a personal
card with money enclosed, ice cream, cake, chicken, pizza and a recorded happy
birthday song in her untrained opera voice that became legendary. She was the
neighborhood watch because she cared. BJ loved crossword puzzles, sudoku and
putting puzzles pieces together with more than 500 pieces. Her favorite games
shows were Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Judge Mathis to name a few. She set
up a table and chair in her bedroom to pray, read the Bible, and made sure she had
access to books, crosswords puzzles and a dictionary.